Yale University has announced a new “tough talking” policy aimed at making students feel less safe online, amid an increase in cyberbullying and a series of high-profile incidents.
On Wednesday, the university announced that it would ban “all types of online harassment, including but not limited to cyberbullies, stalking, and bullying, as well as other forms of hate speech.”
In a press release, the school said that it was working on a new policy for all students that would address “harassment in all forms and is aimed at improving the safety of students.”
The school also said it would increase its response to threats, and will create an independent investigation unit to investigate incidents of harassment.
It said that its “toughest-talking” policy would be made mandatory in all of its online spaces, including at the university’s online forums.
The school’s “tactical” “toxic environment” has “become an epidemic of violence, intimidation, and harassment,” according to the release.
The policy “will be enforced as aggressively as possible to ensure that Yale does not become a place of intimidation and hate,” the school added.
The “tactic” policy is not aimed at online bullying, but at the “tendency of students to engage in behaviors that cause pain and harm to others.”
The move comes just a week after a student at the University of California-Berkeley who posted a video online of herself punching and kicking a male student who was sitting next to her was suspended.
In November, the U.K.’s Queen’s University in Belfast expelled a student who allegedly used racist slurs on Facebook after he made anti-Semitic comments and pictures on a post.
In June, a group of students at the British Columbia University in Victoria were expelled after a video showing them kicking and punching a black man was circulated.
In February, a student from the University at Buffalo was expelled after he allegedly threatened to kill a Black Lives Matter protester and posted racist comments about police brutality on a Facebook post.
The new “action” comes a month after the university received a $3 million grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a new initiative to make its online life safer.
The new initiative, called “Safe Spaces,” is focused on the “understandings, needs, and experiences of students and community members on social media platforms.”
The grant will be used to develop safe spaces for students to interact in “open, respectful, and constructive ways.”
The university has also launched an online petition asking students to call its president and urge him to intervene in an anti-harassment incident.